Early in the spring semester, all departments and degree-granting programs on campus select the most outstanding written work submitted by their students during the preceding calendar year in order to present a Dean’s Writing Award in each major. Winning authors receive their awards along with certificates at a Quest Day ceremony, and winning pieces are both displayed in Penfield Library on Quest Day and archived on the Writing Across the Curriculum website.
The Deans' Writing Awards are intended to accomplish at least three important goals. First, they help create a climate in which academic writing is both publicly celebrated and widely shared. Second, they generate a set of accessible models of the various genres practiced in a given discipline for students to emulate, available for all interested readers on the WAC website. Third, they give faculty members in each discipline a regular occasion to talk together about what they see as exemplary student work, an important discussion for any faculty community.
Suggestions for programs and department include:
- Collect submissions no later than the first week in February so that readers can meet to discuss submissions and select winners by mid-February.
- Construct as large and representative a departmental selection committee as possible.
- Encourage students to revise and polish actively after the paper is submitted in the course, perhaps with the assistance of the sponsoring faculty member and/or selection committee readers, even up to the moment of publication.
- Advise students invited to submit work that it will be published online if it’s chosen, and make sure winning authors sign the release form available here. The form should then be sent to your dean for his or her signature.
- Ask students for submissions in MS Word files so that they can be easily uploaded.
- Make sure that all sources are properly cited.
- Consider offering one or two Honorable Mentions if there is more than one piece the department would like to recognize.